By Edd Conboy
For the past ten years we have had a wonderful and fruitful relationship with Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) who provided us with a community nurse, and a nurse specializing in behavioral and mental health. We are grateful to have had them come in each week to serve the health needs of our guests. Over those years we have grown from greeting a few hundred unique guests a year to about eight thousand guests this year.
This growth has caused us to reevaluate the relationship. And so after many discussions internally and with managers at PHMC we decided that it was time for us to go in another direction to serve those health needs of our guests. Before we focus on the future, however, it is important for us to express our gratitude to those dedicated nurses, Ro and Maggie, for their faithful service. What began as a handshake agreement between Bill Golderer and Richard Cohen ten years ago developed into a long-term effort to expand what it means to practice radical hospitality.
We are now beginning the exciting next chapter for our guests and staff with a new partnership with Philly Fight, an organization with a similar organizational culture to ours – one that thrives on innovation, and an organization that really does provide trauma-informed care to their patients, to our guests. By the end of July we will have a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) satellite established on-site. Finally we will have one of our dreams come true – a fully operational, comprehensive medical and dental service in our space.
Furthermore, this will be a partnership in the fullest sense of that word. Our concierges/case managers will be working closely with the Philly Fight medical team by both referring guests for medical and dental services as well as important supportive follow up. For many of our guests experiencing homelessness or mental illness compliance with medical directives and prescriptions can be enormously challenging. While access to comprehensive medical care is essential to good health, it is not the whole story. Conscientious support to make sure that guests continue with treatment as well as ensuring that they are actually taking the desired medication is a vital factor often overlooked in other settings.
The Philly Fight team knows our guest population well. They have a particular expertise working with some of the most vulnerable adults in the city. They were some of the first responders several decades ago at the onset of the Aids epidemic, and have stayed in the fight ever since. We are delighted to have them working side by side with us as we continue to develop strategies to support our guests as they shift from the margins to regain their footing in mainstream society.
And now let’s dream of air conditioning in the Sanctuary Dining Room!